o IP addresses, ports,hosts (client,server), protocols, services, applications (fixed, mobile),devices and locations
- SEMANTIC PLANE
o Content, topics, trends, communities, locations
- USER PLANE
o Presence, profiles, identities, associations, relationships
Note the three-level hierarchy of analysis - addresses, content, and user associations and relationships. The first level is of the type "who called whom and when?" This is referred to as metadata, devoid of content but rich in associations and relationships. The second level accessed by the Narus nSystem is the content itself, and analysis based upon it. The third level brings in everything else that can be found--credit ratings, credit card transactions, travel receipts, memberships, book purchases, Google search terms used, and on-and-on. A prism shape is used to represent the separation of the information flows. An actual glass prism was used to divert telephone call information flowing through glass fiber optics to the secret room in the San Francisco AT&T center. Thus the name Prism used to identify part of the NSA surveillance system.
In 1994 Congress passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). This act was designed to address the problems created for intelligence and law enforcement agencies by the rapid evolution of digital communications, replacing the earlier analog systems. Traditional eavesdropping methods had become essentially obsolete. The CALEA act required that all modes of communications have a means by which the U.S. government could tap into them. One of the enforcement measures was that devices and systems that did not have such capability could not be exported.
The requirements imposed by CALEA were in the process of being implemented when 9/11 occurred. This greatly accelerated and expanded the perceived needs of such communications intercept capability. The result was that the Narus/Verint equipment and software, being the best, and being available, was quickly and widely adopted.
Some excerpts from James Bamford's Wired article, referenced by Haaretz, are included below. The Binney referred to is William Binney, a career US intelligence officer who left the NSA after attempting, through the chain of command, to bring attention to a failed and wasteful NSA surveillance system called Trailblazer. After leaving the NSA he was publicly critical of the NSA for spying on US citizens. This resulted in charges being brought against him, from which he was eventually cleared. [see]
Bamford (from Wired , 2012): "The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. "I think there's 10 to 20 of them," Binney says. "That's not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast""
"Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrant less-wiretapping program. "They violated the Constitution setting it up," he says bluntly. "But they didn't care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn't stay." Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency's worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there. According to Binney--who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago--the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct "deep packet inspection," examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.- Advertisement -
The software, created by a company called Narus that's now part of Boeing, is controlled remotely from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland and searches US sources for target addresses, locations, countries, and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. Any communication that arouses suspicion, especially those to or from the million or so people on agency watch lists, are automatically copied or recorded and then transmitted to the NSA.
The scope of surveillance expands from there, Binney says. Once a name is entered into the Narus database, all phone calls and other communications to and from that person are automatically routed to the NSA's recorders. "Anybody you want, route to a recorder," Binney says. "If your number's in there? Routed and gets recorded." He adds, "The Narus device allows you to take it all." And when Bluffdale is completed, whatever is collected will be routed there for storage and analysis.
According to Binney, one of the deepest secrets of the Stellar Wind program--again, never confirmed until now--was that the NSA gained warrantless access to AT&T's vast trove of domestic and international billing records, detailed information about who called whom in the US and around the world. As of 2007, AT&T had more than 2.8 trillion records housed in a database at its Florham Park, New Jersey, complex.